THE financial crisis facing Scottish local authorities is stark: and it is one entirely of this SNP Government’s making.

I am only too well aware how grave the financial problem East Lothian Council faces is. Councillors are now being forced to consider a combination of service cuts and council tax rises.

From April, council tax bills across East Lothian could rise by up to nearly £100 a year. The ruling Labour administration proposes a three per cent increase this year and five per cent increases for each of the subsequent two years.

The SNP’s austerity agenda for local government continues, with East Lothian Council set to lose £4.5 million in the coming year.

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Despite a record settlement from Westminster, the council is losing £1 million in real-terms funding. And it will be a further £3.5 million worse off due to changes to the floor-based funding formula which pools funding with other councils.

The picture this paints is so bad it now looks vindictive. It is simply unfair that East Lothian, one of the fastest-growing areas in Scotland, is being repeatedly penalised by the SNP.

But it is not just residents of East Lothian that are losing out. Right across Scotland, the picture is the same. COSLA estimates £371 million of core funding for Scottish councils will be cut in real terms.

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And while this SNP Government starves councils of their funding, it is forcing councils to raise taxes when the cost of living is rising.

That is why the Scottish Conservatives propose a clear a solution to this crisis. We want to see a permanent financial settlement for Scotland’s councils which would ringfence a percentage of the overall Scottish Budget for council funding.

We need fair funding for communities. Sadly, it does not appear we will get this from the SNP.